During this time of year, the eyes of the sports world are focused on Western Massachusetts.
On Sunday afternoon, the Basketball Hall of Fame will induct its class of 2013 and the worldwide event has a big impact locally.
"I'm going to get emotional, but I don't want it to take away from thanking the people I need to thank," said Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.
Pitino, who is a University of Massachusetts alum and two-time national championship coach, is one of the twelve that will be inducted this year.
Pitino suited up for the Minutemen in the early 1970s.
"So long ago, I really don't remember too much," Pitino stated. "I remember my teammates. I still keep in contact with them."
While the coach's college memories may be fading, new memories are being made in Downtown Springfield.
"I've met all of them," said 15-year-old Ahmad Weaver. "Michael Jordan, LeBron, Larry Bird, Magic."
Weaver, who lives in Springfield, has spent each of the last four years waiting outside the downtown hotels for a chance to meet and get an autograph from basketball legends. Weaver said he holds no grudges if he does not always get that signature.
"There's like eight billion people in this world," said Weaver. "Lets say that one billion like you. You can't sign for all of them. I understand that sometimes they're a little stressed out. If they say no, they say no. Hopefully I'll get them next time."
John Thomas is the general manager of Max's Tavern, which is located within the Hall of Fame complex. Thomas said Max's increases its amount of staff while enshrinement festivities take place. He said the payoff for the employees is to cater to some of the biggest names in basketball.
"It's exciting to see anybody that's in the Hall of Fame," said Thomas. "Especially the old time Hall of Famers, like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in here one year. The older players are amazing to see."
Anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of basketball's best, they begin to arrive at Symphony Hall on Sunday at 1 p.m. to walk the red carpet.
The enshrinement ceremony begins at 2 p.m.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:14:19 GMT
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